Sunday, September 13, 2009

Potentialities of English Liturgical Chant: The Weber Chants

Normally I leave writing on the subject of sacred music in the capable and experienced hands of Jeffrey Tucker, but I was so intrigued and edified by this recording I received today, which shows the, as yet, all too unexplored territory of English chanted propers for use within the context of the modern Roman liturgy, that I simply could not resist sharing it with you myself.

This clip, only recently released, comes from the 2009 Sacred Music Colloquium in Chicago and you will note the presence of Jeffrey within the schola cantorum as well as Scott Turkington -- who Jeffrey has so often brought to our attention. They, and the others there with them, do a phenomenal job executing this chant.

This introit, along with a corresponding offertory and communion verse as well, was set to chant by another individual the NLM has often presented, Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB of the Institute of Sacred Music in St. Louis, having been specially commissioned for the aforesaid colloquium.

The recording begins with a psalm verse from Psalm 27 (LXX) and then the introit is sung. The basic text is as follows, with additional verses able to be used as required -- as they are in this recording.

Ps. Unto Thee will I cry O Lord
O my God be not Thou silent to me
Lest if Thou be silent to me
I become like them that go down into the pit.

The Lord is the strength of His people
And the protector of the salvation of His anointed
Save, O Lord, Thy people
And bless Thine inheritance
And rule them forever

Here is how it sounds and feels within its liturgical context. Aside from this chant being a clear expression of the principle of a reform or development in continuity, it is worthwhile noting how immediately and effectively it contributes toward setting the proper tone of the liturgy as an act of communal divine worship. It also demonstrates how, as Fr. Weber would say, the chant can sound when it grows out of an English text.

Anyone who is interested may receive these Propers by sending an email to Father Weber at the Institute of Sacred Music within the Archdiocese of Saint Louis: There is no charge for them.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: